Vol. VII No. 51 - Tuesday
December 16 - December 22, 2008

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

One ‘NAP’ that certainly wasn’t quiet

Stop Polio Now - declare Rotarians and the public sectors


One ‘NAP’ that certainly wasn’t quiet


Stop Polio Now - declare Rotarians and the public sectors

Children under the age of 5 to receive polio vaccines on 2 immunisation days

DG (3360) Pornsak Uerprasert, (3rd left), DG (3350) Krai Tungsanga, (6th left), DGN Suchada Ithijarukul (4th right), DG (3330) Ratmanee Tanyinyong (3rd right), DG (3340) Pratheep Malhotra (2nd right) stand firm with the team of dedicated Polio eradicators.

By Pratheep Malhotra
Data courtesy of Global Polio Eradication Initiative

The Thai Ministry of Health has declared 17 December 2008 and 14 January 2009 as National Polio Immunization Days. Parents are strongly urged to bring their children under the age of 5 to the various health centers around the country so that their children can receive the polio vaccine to prevent them from being infected by the deadly virus.
This is the second part of the four-pronged strategy which involves mass immunization campaigns, known as National Immunization Days (NIDs). This supplementary immunization is intended to complement - not replace - routine immunisation. The aim of mass campaigns is to interrupt the circulation of the polio virus by immunizing every child under 5 years of age with two doses of OPV, regardless of previous immunisation status, with the idea of catching children who are either not immunised or only partially protected, and to boost immunity in those who have been immunised. This way, every child in the most susceptible age group is protected against polio at the same time - instantly depriving the virus of the fertile seedbed on which its survival depends.

These two girls touched everyone’s hearts when they said, “Thank you Rotary for stopping this terrible disease. We truly hope that we are the last victims of Polio.”
NIDs are conducted in two rounds, one month apart. Because OPV does not require a needle and syringe, volunteers with minimal training can serve as vaccinators, increasing the number of vaccinators well beyond the existing staff of a country’s Ministry of Health. Three to five years of NIDs are usually required to eradicate polio, but some countries require more time, especially those where routine immunisation coverage is low. NIDs are normally conducted during the cool, dry season because logistics are simplified, immunological response to OPV is improved and the potential damage to heat-sensitive OPV is reduced.
Funding of the vaccines is made possible throughout the joint efforts of the World Health Organisation, (WHO), UNICEF, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International and many other organizations all over the world. Doctors, nurses and volunteers including Rotarians will take part in helping to immunize each and every child on both days from 9 am until 4 pm.
Earlier this week, the Four Rotary District Governors in Thailand held a press conference in Bangkok to announce the many activities planned to bring attention to and encourage the public to be aware of the threat of polio to our children. District 3350 is organizing a Eradicating Polio to Make Dreams Real Fair on 14 December at the Benjasiri Park on Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road, during which experts will give the public information about polio and its prevention. The fair will include exhibitions and concerts.
On 28 December, all 4 Rotary districts in Thailand will organize a Walk-Run-A-Thon in many provinces in the country. This exercise is organized to create awareness and reassure the public of Rotary’s promise to the children of the world that it will not stop until it has won the war against polio. After 20 years of hard work, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of eradicating this tenacious disease, but a strong push is needed now to root it out once and for all. It is a window of opportunity of historic proportions.
Contributions by not only Rotarians by also by people from all walks of life will directly support immunisation campaigns in developing countries, where polio continues to infect and paralyse children, robbing them of their futures and compounding the hardships faced by their families. As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk. The stakes are that high.
Note: For essential information about centres and schools in Chiang Mai where the immunisation programme will take place, please contact the Chiang Mai Public Health Office at 10, Suthep Road, T.Suthep, Muang, CM 5000, call on 053-211-048/50, or visit their website at www.chiangmai-health-hub.com.
Data courtesy of Global Polio Eradication Initiative

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